Topics A to Z

As part of NEHA's continuos effort to provide convenient access to information and resources, we have gathered together for you the links in this section. Our mission is "to advance the environmental health and protection professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all,” as well as to educate and inform those outside the profession.

Abstract

Most foodborne illnesses reported to health departments originate from food service establishments. The District of Columbia Department of Health conducts periodic inspections to assess the risk of foodborne illness. The occurrence trends of priority violations and their relationships to foodborne illness and resident complaints have not yet been investigated in the District of Columbia. This research studied the relationship between foodborne illness complaints reported by patrons and observed priority violations in food establishments. This study used a nonexperimental quantitative methodology that relied on preexisting data, including food establishment inspection reports and health statistics. The results showed that observed priority violations in food establishment inspections in the District of Columbia were positively correlated with two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-identified foodborne illness risk factors: poor personal hygiene and contaminated equipment. The study results showed that patron-generated foodborne illness complaints were significantly correlated with improper holding temperatures and contaminated equipment. This study can act as a motivator to reevaluate existing food safety inspection enforcement practices and thereby reduce foodborne illnesses in the District of Columbia.

April 2018
April 2018
80.8 | 14-19
Temesgen A. Jemaneh, MSc, DrPH, REHS, CP-FS, ASP, District of Columbia Department of Health , Mark Minelli, MA, MPA, PhD, Central Michigan University, Abimbola Farinde, PhD, PharmD, Capella University, Edward Paluch, PhD, Capella University

Abstract

Biological hazards such as exposure to ticks and mosquitoes can affect health. Permethrin-treated clothing is available to the public. We don’t currently understand, however, the effects of environmental factors such as fabric type, washing, sunlight, and temperature on permethrin content in treated clothing with respect to mosquito knockdown and mortality. We evaluated the extent to which fabric type (100% cotton denim jeans, 100% polyester work shirt, 35% cotton/65% polyester work shirt), light exposure (0 or 100%), temperature (18 °C, 32 °C), and number of washes (0, 3, 12, 36) affected mosquito knockdown 2 hours post-exposure, mosquito mortality 24 hours post-exposure, and permethrin content. All fabrics used in this study were treated with permethrin at a concentration of 125 µg/cm2. Denim fabric having no washes and no light exposure showed the highest amount of permethrin. Washing and light exposure significantly reduced the ability of permethrin-treated fabrics to induce mosquito knockdown and/or mortality under the simulated conditions used for this test. Temperatures tested did not affect permethrin content or mosquito knockdown and mortality. Long-lasting impregnation of uniforms protects against mosquito bites under simulated laboratory conditions. Employers and employees should consider the use of permethrin-impregnated clothing and uniforms in addition to daily repellent sprays.

April 2017
April 2017
79.8 | 8-15
Stephanie L. Richards, MSEH, PhD, East Carolina University, Jo Anne G. Balanay, PhD, CIH, East Carolina University, Jonathan W. Harris, MSEH, East Carolina University, Victoria M. Banks, East Carolina University

Abstract

Biological hazards such as exposure to ticks and mosquitoes can affect health. Permethrin-treated clothing is available to the public. We don’t currently understand, however, the effects of environmental factors such as fabric type, washing, sunlight, and temperature on permethrin content in treated clothing with respect to mosquito knockdown and mortality. We evaluated the extent to which fabric type (100% cotton denim jeans, 100% polyester work shirt, 35% cotton/65% polyester work shirt), light exposure (0 or 100%), temperature (18 °C, 32 °C), and number of washes (0, 3, 12, 36) affected mosquito knockdown 2 hours post-exposure, mosquito mortality 24 hours post-exposure, and permethrin content. All fabrics used in this study were treated with permethrin at a concentration of 125 µg/cm2. Denim fabric having no washes and no light exposure showed the highest amount of permethrin. Washing and light exposure significantly reduced the ability of permethrin-treated fabrics to induce mosquito knockdown and/or mortality under the simulated conditions used for this test. Temperatures tested did not affect permethrin content or mosquito knockdown and mortality. Long-lasting impregnation of uniforms protects against mosquito bites under simulated laboratory conditions. Employers and employees should consider the use of permethrin-impregnated clothing and uniforms in addition to daily repellent sprays.

April 2017
April 2017
79.8 | 8-15
Stephanie L. Richards, MSEH, PhD, East Carolina University, Jo Anne G. Balanay, PhD, CIH, East Carolina University, Jonathan W. Harris, MSEH, East Carolina University, Victoria M. Banks, East Carolina University

Abstract

Researchers from Oregon State and Louisiana State Universities convened a diverse gathering of leaders of Gulf Coast regional nongovernmental organizations, regulatory agencies, residents, and researchers to examine events following environmental disasters. The overall goals of the workshop were to develop unique findings from participant experiences that could be beneficial and to offer specific recommendations for the improvement of response, recovery, and resilience in future disasters. We examined three topics related to enhancing resilience to environmental disasters: rapid response for characterizing exposure; recovery and the role of the citizen scientist; and increased resilience with community participation. The participants shared their experiences and recommended solutions including increased training for citizen scientists, expanded use of innovative sampling technologies, and greater sharing of environmental conditions and information among stakeholders and agencies postevent. The recommendations will improve future response and recovery efforts, and should strengthen communities by supporting key theoretical attributes of resilience.

September 2017
September 2017
80.2 | 8-15
Margaret A. Reams, PhD, Department of Environmental Sciences, Louisiana State University, Anna K. Harding, PhD, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University, Wilma Subra, MS, Subra Company, Inc., Nina S. N. Lam, PhD, Department of Environmental Sciences, Louisiana State University

Abstract

Pathogen growth caused by improper or slow cooling of hot foods was a contributing factor in 504 of restaurant- and deli-related outbreaks in the U.S. from 1998–2008. Little is known, however, about restaurant cooling practices. To fill this gap, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net) conducted an observational study to identify and understand factors that might determine which methods restaurants follow to rapidly cool food. These methods include refrigerating food at ≤41 °F, at shallow depths, and in containers that are ventilated, unstacked, and have space around them. EHS-Net personnel collected data through manager interviews and observation of cooling processes in 420 randomly selected restaurants. Regression analyses revealed characteristics of restaurants most likely to use the cooling methods assessed. These characteristics included ownership by restaurant chains, manager food safety training and certification, few foods cooled at a time, many meals served daily, and a high ratio of workers to managers. These findings suggest that regulatory food safety programs and the retail industry might improve cooling methods—and reduce outbreaks—by providing and encouraging manager food safety training and certification, and by focusing intervention efforts on independent and smaller restaurants.

 

June 2020
June 2020
82.10 | 8-13
Kirsten Reed, MPH, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Laura Brown, PhD, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Danny Ripley, Metro Nashville/Davidson County Public Health Department, Nicole Hedeen, MPH, Minnesota Department of Health

Abstract

Restaurant food safety is monitored by local health departments through routine inspections. Given the historical use of different inspection formats, the purpose of this study was to assess how word choices used to categorize violations could influence restaurant manager interpretation of inspection results. This study used a scenario-based questionnaire to examine manager perceptions and preferences among inspection formats, including the three-tier system currently recommended by the Food and Drug Administration. Results suggest that managers were able to determine the relative seriousness of violations, but perceptions of risk were influenced by the words used to classify the violation. In particular, use of the words "priority foundation" and "core" as part of the three-tier violation format were confusing. Managers preferred the letter grade and numeric score systems because they were perceived to be easy to understand, easy to use, accurate, and require the least amount of time. Managers had some concerns about the new three-tier system in the area of accuracy. Results suggest the need for additional training for restaurant managers, especially on the meaning of different classifying terms when changing to a new inspection format, as well as the rationale and benefits of changing to a new system such as the three-tier format.

 

June 2019
June 2019
81.10 | 8-14
Jing Ma, PhD, University of Delaware, Jooho Kim, PhD, James Madison University, Barbara Almanza, PhD, RD, Purdue University

Abstract

Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD) in Indianapolis, Indiana, was awarded funding in 2009 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Healthy Homes Demonstration Grant Program as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This funding is currently supporting activities addressing health and safety hazards in homes of low- and very low-income residents living in an urban community within Marion County with an extensive history of heavy industry and lead smelting. One portion of this grant is being used to fund IRB-approved research conducted by MCPHD for the period of the grant. Development and implementation of this study has provided both unique challenges and positive opportunities for study participants, MCPHD, and community stakeholders. The following commentary provides insight into the benefits and rewards of implementing a successful study process, as well as challenges in implementing a community-based research study for the first time in a preexisting Healthy Homes Demonstration Grant Program health department.

July 2016
July/August 2016
79.1 | 20-23
Juanita Ebert Brand, MSN, EdD, RN, WHNP-BC, Virginia A. Caine, MD, Jo Rhodes, MSG, HHS, CRT, Jason Ravenscroft, MPH, REHS, CHMM

Pages